Where and how can you find a place to stay in New Zealand? From hostels to long-term rentals, discover all the options available during your working holiday adventure—including some low-cost or zero-cost options, like hostels or volunteer work.

Hostels in New Zealand

Most working holiday makers will spend their first night(s) in New Zealand in a youth hostel, commonly known as backpackers or hostels. You can book a private room or a bed in a shared dorm and use all the communal areas (kitchen, lounge, showers and toilets).

This type of accommodation is very popular in New Zealand—both foreigners and Kiwis use it for short or long stays. It’s a win-win because hostels are usually one of the cheapest housing solutions plus you can cook your own meals and meet other travellers.

Expect to pay an average of NZ$25-40 for a bed in a dorm, and NZ$30-100 for a private room with or without a private bathroom.

Many hostels offer additional services free of charge or for a small fee—Internet access, library, washing machines and dryers, telephone, parking spots, job search assistance, musical instruments, kayaking and surfing equipment, and more. Some have women-only dormitories.

Hostel networks

There are many hostel networks in New Zealand. Buying the membership card gives you access to discounts and other benefits at all the hostels in the network.

  • BBH is a network of over 280 hostels in New Zealand. Membership costs an annual NZ$35 per person and gives you at least 10% discount per night plus discounts on activities. Membership cards can be purchased at hostels and isites locations (New Zealand’s official visitor information network), including Auckland Airport. In addition, the free “BBH Accommodation Guide” lists all the hostels with full details. Note that some affiliate hostels do give the BBH discount on short-term stays but not on their long-term rates.
  • YHA is a network of 14 hostels in New Zealand. Membership costs NZ$30 per year and gives access to a 10% discount at affiliate hostels plus discounts on activities. The YHA is part of Hostelling International, so you can use your membership card at some 4,000 hostels worldwide.
  • Nomads has several hostels in New Zealand.

Many travel guides also list hostels. You can also check out booking sites like Booking and Hostelworld.

Working hostels

In fruit-picking areas, you’ll find a different kind of hostel—working hostels, i.e., hostels offering employment assistance services on the side.

These hostels typically have contacts with several companies in the area so they can put you in touch with potential employers. In fact, they often post job ads themselves to attract backpackers to the area. The deal is straightforward—they almost guarantee you a job as a hostel guest but in turn, you commit to staying with them while working for the job they help you find. So, if you want to leave the hostel and keep your job (for example, if you’ve found a very good housing deal in the area), the hostel may ask you to pay the rent you would have paid until the end of your contract, for example, or keep your deposit. 

So know what to expect when you arrive at such a hostel, and make sure you ask the hostel staff about all the conditions (especially if you find a job on your own).

Keep in mind that staying in a working hostel still involves some job hunting on your side. The hostel will only start offering you jobs after you’ve spent one or two weeks with them (and of course, you will pay for this two-week stay).

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En PVT au Canada de novembre 2021 à 2023, je répondrai à vos questions avec plaisir. Pour le premier trimestre 2024, direction l'Amérique latine !

I moved from France to Canada on a WHV from November 2021 to 2023, followed then by spending the first quarter of 2024 in Latin America! Happy to answer all your questions.

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